Are recruiters their own worst enemy? by@GBhambra

Apr 17, 2015
This article is part of a series called Opinion.
Glen Cathey Discussion

I recently attended the fantastic TruLondon event and joined a discussion about sourcing led by Glen Cathey. He began by talking about the issue of human judgements – by which measure recruiters decide if they want to put a candidate forward for a role just by glancing at a CV or a profile. Behind that CV is a human and let’s face it, candidates are not experts when it comes to writing their resume… so why are recruiters so quick to write someone off without having picked up the phone and spoken to them first?

I’ve come across this situation one too many times, where a recruiter or hiring manager will decline a candidate if the information on there doesn’t exactly match their criteria. And some managers will have a list as long as their arm, with more often than not – totally unrealistic expectations. The problem with this is that the candidate may have had good potential or even relevant experience but because this wasn’t so visible on paper, they were rejected.

They could have been the star candidate.

Yes, a recruiter will probably be juggling multiple requisitions and have many demands and pressures on them. Sure it’s time consuming to find out the details – but isn’t it better to tick someone off the list (and be sure) before their CV is tossed away or sent to die in an ATS? The issue is our judgement and the fact that there are a lot of recruiters out there who are pessimists and as Glen rightly put it “not inclusive”.

I think recruiters can be their own worst enemy, by refusing to be optimistic they are closing themselves off from learning more. There was a great debate at Tru about how many young people are often more easier to mould than a seasoned recruiter, which sadly is true. Most recruiters with significant years of experience are viewed as an asset – every company wants to hire them. Why? Because they have built up their experience within that specific industry. It’s not a bad thing to want to hire someone who understands your market but it’s their attitude that you need to be weary of.

Perhaps the lesson here is to try and hire optimistic recruiters, because they are more often than not – inclusive. They will have an open mind and are eager to learn. Most seasoned recruiters can get stuck in their own ways and their behaviours become difficult to change as they refuse to be open (or scared) to learn anything new. Inevitably they will get stuck behind the game and the company that’s hired them will eventually find that too. This is how the recruiter rises and then falls.

In my opinion, a recruiter needs to be an innovator. They need to be the ones to challenge the status quo – if you have pessimistic recruiters talking to demanding hiring managers (who are not the hiring experts) then how will the right people actually get hired?

We all know that top talent is becoming trickier to find, people are moving away from LinkedIn and purposely making it difficult for them to be found which is why I think now more than ever recruiters need to open their minds by being willing to change their old and toxic behaviours. The key to this though – is wanting to change.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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